"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:7-8).
To reflect the image of God to the world, we as Christian must be a people who radiate the love of Jesus Christ, for love is the strategy of the Kingdom.
To be like Jesus, we must love people unconditionally no matter what they have done, what they are going through, and, no matter what they are putting us through for the profile of the Kingdom is the other cheek.
In the church's quest to advance the cause of Christ, demonstrate His Kingdom with power and bring solutions to the earth, love must be the tactic of choice to accomplish this noble mission, because love never fails.
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"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1).
The church must regain the sound the world heard on the day of Pentecost. A sound that transcends all culture, race, religious background, economic and educational levels. It was the glorious sound of heaven speaking the wonderful works of God to all mankind (see Acts 2:10-11).
It is a sound that causes the lost to run to Jesus rather than the religious noise, rhetoric and rules that push them away. We are to be a light that shines drawing them out of darkness, not a light that blinds plunging them deeper in. God's love is the power plant of the city on a hill that cannot be hidden and that city is you and I.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14).
The church is in an hour where we need to cry out to God asking Him to create in us a new heart, the heart of the Father. We need to ask for a heart that beats with unconditional love, a heart that accepts whosoever will, and a heart that is broken for the hurting and for our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
"And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
If you are reading this today and have been hurt or rejected by a church because of your past, a present mistake, your race, religious background or lifestyle, I want you to know that you are loved, greatly valued and welcomed at our church.
Beyond anything else we could ever share with you, we offer you Jesus. Regardless of who you are, or what you've done, God really does love you. He sent His Son, who paid the ultimate price for you. He died for your sins, but death could not hold Him.
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ you too can have a new and eternal life. Ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to heal you, to teach you His ways and to use you to help others.
Welcome to the Kingdom!
Don Sturiano, is pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church, which meets at 10:30 a.m. Sundays at 825 Ninth St. W., across the street from Turner Donuts in downtown Bradenton. Call 941-776-0026.